The connoisseur-quality cannabis judge behind Certified Dank, Caitlin Podiak, visits Amsterdam, long thought of as the preeminent global refuge for cannabis lovers, and discovers a decidedly different scene.
The last time I visited Amsterdam I was a college junior and a nightly toker, but all I knew about cannabis was that I liked it. A decade later, I was back — now a bona fide NorCal pot snob, there to celebrate the New Year with my husband, my parents, my sister and my brother-in-law.
We arrived on the penultimate day of 2015 and immediately headed to Grey Area. This grungy little coffeeshop reputed to sell Amsterdam’s dankest cannabis was tightly packed and dimly lit, with stickers covering the walls, death metal thudding at a punishing volume and a line stretching out the door. Harried budtenders rapidly shoved a series of dirty plastic canisters across the counter, each containing a paltry handful of stem-ridden popcorn-sized buds.